“Coal to Broadband: Making the Transition – Making the Connection.”
A collaborative effort to provide high-speed Internet access (broadband) to people living in rural areas of Breathitt, Estill, Lee and Powell counties in Eastern Kentucky. The program formed a non-profit called the Breathitt, Estill, Lee, Powell Regional Technology Authority, Inc. (RTA). The non-profit, RTA, will work to create and execute high speed Internet service to the four counties.
How is this project funded?
The project is funded through a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission and matching multi-county coal severance funds. Initial funding for the project is nearly $600,000.
What groups make this project?
The project is a collaboration among Breathitt, Estill, Lee, Powell Regional Technology Authority, Inc. (RTA); ConnectKentucky, the Kentucky Department for Local Government; Breathitt County Fiscal Court; Estill County Fiscal Court; Lee County Fiscal Court and Powell County Fiscal Court.
What is Connect Kentucky’s role?
ConnectKentucky will be providing technical assistance and advisory services to the four county Regional Technology Authority. ConnectKentucky will not be a broadband provider, but will provide several key things for the project including:
1. The research, issuing and follow-up for two request for proposals (RFP), including (1) for the configuration and construction of the broadband network and (2) the solicitation of a broadband service provider;
2. Market data and research services including a public awareness and outreach campaign to gain knowledge of the wants and needs of counties’ residents; and
3. Project management services including measuring project milestones and providing updates of progress to local officials.
How can county residents help or participate in the process?
County residents can help the process by completing a broadband survey addressing issues of price and availability or attend a town hall meeting that the RTA will hold in conjunction with local governments.
When will the broadband service be available?
The estimated project timeline for the completed broadband network, taking into consideration possible delays due to weather conditions and other factors, is by the end of 2012.
What broadband speeds can we expect from the broadband service?
The RFP will require providers to submit proposals that at a minimum meet the FCC definition of broadband, which is currently 768 Kbps download and 200 Kbps upload.